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Hungary's Partition and the Hungarian Minorities since World War I *

Ivan K Szucs

A. Regional Survey

1914 July 28. Austria - Hungary declares war on Serbia, thereby precipitating the outbreak of World War I

1916 August 17. The Allies pledge Transylvania to Romania as a reward for entering the war on their side

1917 July 20. Members of the Yugoslav Committee in exile sign the Pact of Corfu on the future formation of a Yugoslav state

1918 June 28. France recognizes the Czecho - Slovak National Council in exile as "first basis" of a future Czecho-Slovak government

August 9. Great Britain recognizes the Czecho-Slovak Council in exile as "present trustee" of the Czecho-Slovak government

September 2. The United States recognizes the Czecho-Slovak Council in exile as "de facto belligerent" government

*EDITOR'S NOTE. Throughout the Chronology - in the Regional Survey in particular - the Hungarian author's text has been significantly supplemented and edited for publication in the West.


October 3. Austria - Hungary, in a joint note with Germany and Turkey, appeals to President Wilson to initiate general peace negotiations on the basis of the Fourteen Points

October 6. In Zagreb, a National Council is formed by Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes with the aim of uniting them in a South Slav state

October 25. In Hungary, a National Council under the presidency of Mihaly Karolyi is formed to establish the country's independence, conclude a treaty of peace, and carry out democratic reforms including the recognition of the country's non - Hungarian nationalities' right to autonomy under a federal system

October 27. Austria - Hungary sues for an armistice

October 28. In Prague, the Czech National Council declares the independence of the Czech lands within a Czecho-Slovak state

October 29. In Zagreb, the National Assembly declares Croatia's secession from Hungary

October 30. In Turciansky Sv. Martin (Turocszentmarton, Hungary), a Slovak Assembly declares the secession of the Slovaks from Hungary and their union with the Czechs in a Czecho-Slovak state

November 5. Armies of the Kingdom of Serbia begin to occupy the South Slav - inhabited territories of Hungary

November 8. Military formations set up by the provisional Czechoslovak government begin to occupy the Slovak inhabited northern territories of Hungary

November 12. The Ruthenian People's Council of America (formed in July 1918) declares Ruthenia's secession from Hungary and its union with Czech- Slovakia

November 12 - 14. On behalf of the Hungarian National Council, Oszkar Jaszi negotiates in Arad with president Iuliu Maniu and other members of the Romanian National Council of Transylvania; the Romanians reject the offer of autonomy and demand independence

December 1. In Paris, Prince Regent Alexander of Serbia

Chronology 351

proclaims the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later known as Yugoslavia)

December 1 - 2. In Alba Iulia (Gyulafehervar, Hungary), an assembly convoked by the Romanian National Council of Transylvania declares union with the Kingdom of Romania while promising the non - Romanians of Transylvania equality and national freedom with cultural autonomy

December 2. Armies of the Kingdom of Romania cross the Hungarian border and begin to occupy Transylvania 1919 January 11. In Bucharest, the Romanian government proclaims the annexation of Transylvania

January 12. Opening of the Paris Peace Conference

March 20. The Allied Supreme Council orders further Hungarian withdrawal from territories to be occupied by Romania. Unwilling to obey this order, handed to him in the so-called "Vyx note," Karolyi resigns as president of the Hungarian Republic; the democratic republican regime collapses

March 21. A Republic of Councils on the Soviet model is formed in Hungary under the leadership of Bela Kun. In the hope of Soviet help, the new regime organizes armed resistance to defy Allied territorial dispositions

April. Romanian and Czech armies attack the Hungarian Republic of Councils. A counteroffensive by the Hungarian Red Army drives the Czechs out of Hungary and Eastern Slovakia

June 17. The Allied Supreme Council orders the Hungarian Red Army troops to retire behind the provisional frontiers decreed by the Paris Peace Conference. Unsuccessful against the Romanians, Kun's crumbling Communist regime obeys the Allied order

August 1. Fall of the Hungarian Republic of Councils, followed by a counterrevolution, restoring the kingdom under Admiral Miklos Horthy as regent

1920 June 4. Signing of the Peace Treaty of Trianon with Hungary, executing the partition of Hungary

August 14 through June 7, 1921. Signing of treaties among


Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania (the Little Entente countries) to counteract Hungary's revisionist policy

1924 January 25. France signs a treaty of alliance with Czechoslovakia, followed by similar treaties with Romania (January 10,1926) and Yugoslavia (November 11, 1927)

1927 April. Italy signs a treaty of friendship and cooperation with Hungary

1929 January 1. Royal dictatorship is proclaimed in Yugoslavia, torn by conflict between Serbs and Croats

1933 With Hitler's appointment as chancellor, the campaign for treaty revision is radicalized under Nazi Germany leadership

1935 May 2. France concludes a treaty of mutual assistance with the Soviet Union.

May 16. Czechoslovakia signs a treaty of mutual assistance with the USSR, thereby joining the Franco - Soviet treaty

December. T. G. Masaryk, one of the principal architects of postwar Central Europe, retires and is succeeded by Edvard Benes as President of Czechoslovakia

1937 September 14. T. G. Masaryk dies

1938 March. Following Hitler's annexation of Austria, there is a mounting crisis in Czechoslovakia, precipitated by Sudeten German demands for autonomy

September 30. With the signing of the Four-power Munich Agreement, the breakup of Czechoslovakia begins

October 14. Hungary adheres to the Anti-Comintern Pact (Tripartite Pact, as it is called later)

November 2. The first Vienna Award of the Axis powers returns the Hungarian - inhabited territories of Czechoslovakia to Hungary

1939 March 14. Slovakia proclaimed an independent state

March 15. Bohemia and Moravia is annexed by Nazi Germany, Carpatho - Ukraine by Hungary

August 23. Signing of the Nazi - Soviet Pact, followed, September 1, by Hitler's invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II. Poland is defeated and divided

Chronology 353

1940 June. The USSR regains Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from Romania

August 20. The second Vienna Award of the Axis powers returns most of the Hungarian - inhabited territories of Romania to Hungary by partitioning Transylvania

1941 March. A Serbian - led coup in Belgrade revokes Yugoslavia's adherence to the Tripartite Pact, whereupon Hitler demands free passage for German troops through Hungary and invades Yugoslavia. Regent Horthy yields to German demand. In protest, April 3, Hungary's Prime Minister Pal Teleki commits suicide. Hungary regains the Vojvodina and other territories from dismembered Yugoslavia. Croatia is proclaimed an independent state.

June 21. Hitler invades the Soviet Union

June 22. Romania attacks the Soviet Union

June 23. Slovakia enters the war against the Soviet Union. Croatia declares war on the Soviet Union.

June 27. Hungary joins the war against the Soviet Union

1944 March 19. Nazi Germany occupies Hungary to forestall the country's leaving the war against the Soviet Union

August 23. Romania leaves the war against the Soviet Union and declares war on Nazi Germany

October 15. Regent Horthy announces Hungary's withdrawal from the war, whereupon the Germans install a Nazi puppet regime in Budapest under Ferenc Szalasi, soon to be removed with the retreating Germans to Western Hungary

December 22. In eastern Hungary, liberated from the Nazis by the Soviet Union, a Hungarian provisional national assembly and government is formed in Debrecen

December 23. The Provisional Government of Hungary declares war on Nazi Germany

1945 February 4 - 12. The Yalta Conference, while pledging "free and unfettered elections," actually ushers in the establishment of pro - Soviet governments in a divided Europe

March 6. Petru Groza's government is formed in Romania, expanding Communist control over the country


March 7. A Yugoslav provisional government is set up with dominant Communist participation under Tito's leadership

April 3. A national front government is appointed by President Benes in Czechoslovakia with Communist participation

July 17 - August 2. The Potsdam Conference, while reiterating the pledges of the Yalta agreements, fails to halt the process of Europe's partition into Eastern Soviet and Western democratic spheres

1946 July 29. The Peace Conference convenes in Paris

1947 February 10. Five treaties of peace are signed in Paris; Hungary's second partition is confirmed

May 31. Collapse of the democratically elected coalition government in Hungary, leading to total Communist takeover within a year

September 22 - 23. At a meeting at Szklarska Poreba, Poland, the Soviet - controlled Cominform (Information Bureau of the Communist parties) is set up with headquarters in Belgrade

1948 February 25. Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia. Benes remains president until June 7, and dies September 3

June 27. Break between Tito and Stalin; Yugoslavia is expelled from the Cominform and becomes the first Communist state free of Soviet control

1949 January 25. The Soviet bloc's economic organization is set up under the Soviet controlled Comecon (Council of Mutual Economic Assistance)

1953 March 5. Stalin dies

May 11 - 15. At a meeting in Warsaw, the Soviet bloc's military alliance, called the Warsaw Treaty, is formed under Soviet command

June. In East Berlin, Soviet occupation troops crush an uprising of German workers

1955 May. East - West negotiations for a peace treaty with Austria are completed under the terms of Austria's neutralization

1956 February. Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin at the Twentieth Party Congress, followed by "de - Stalinization"

Chronology 355

October. Crisis in Poland. Wladyslaw Gomulka is returned to power amidst widespread unrest

October 23. Triggered by the anti - regime revolt in Poland, sympathy demonstrations in Budapest lead to a national uprising against Soviet rule in Hungary

November 1. Prime Minister Imre Nagy, as head of the revolutionary coalition government, declares Hungary's neutrality. Hungary leaves the Warsaw Treaty and asks the UN to deal with the "question of Hungary's neutrality and the defense of that neutrality by the four Great Powers."

November 4. Soviet military intervention crushes the Hungarian Revolution. Janos Kadar forms a new Communist government in Hungary under Soviet occupation

1968 The "Prague Spring"

April 10. The Czechoslovak Communist party publishes its Action Program to achieve "socialism with a human face"

August 20. Soviet military intervention stops the reform movement and places Czechoslovakia under Soviet occu - pation. Birth of the "Brezhnev doctrine," justifying intervention

1969 The "New Economic Mechanism," is launched in Hungary, advancing the country's "liberalization" without changing the Communist party's monopoly of power

1975 July 30 - August 1. The final meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe is held in Helsinki; a declaration of the "Final Act," includes the affirmation of the rights of national minorities

1977 In Czechoslovakia, the Charter 77 civil rights movement is launched by Czech dissidents

1978 The first Helsinki review conference in Belgrade discusses human rights, including those of national equality

1980 August. In Poland, the free trade union "Solidarity" is legalized, galized, only to be outlawed in December 1981 under General Jaruzelski,s military dictatorship

1983 The second Helsinki review conference in Madrid in its closing document reiterates the safeguarding of the rights of national minorities.


The Soviet - backed Jaruzelski regime in Poland eases some of its martial law measures, but the Solidarity trade union remains outlawed

1984 October 23. On the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution , several Polish underground organizations issue a joint proclamation reiterating the 1981 call by the Solidarity free trade union for international unity of workers of Eastern Europe

1985 August. On the tenth anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, Czechoslovakia's Charter 77 spokesmen declare that there is "no reason to celebrate" because Europe has slipped into "a new cold war." In support of detente, an earlier statement by the Czech human rights group appeals for East - West negotiations to disband the Warsaw Pact and NATO to be followed by "withdrawal of American and Soviet troops from the territories of their European allies"

1986 June. At a Warsaw Pact meeting in Budapest, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the new Soviet leader, expresses tolerance and even some admiration for Hungary's market - oriented economic policies. He said: "We are pleased with the successes of our friends and strive to take over everything that may be useful for our country." However, he also stresses the need for closer political and economic cooperation among Soviet - bloc countries, which was interpreted as a Soviet warning against closer ties between the bloc - couttries and the West

July. At the congress of the Polish Communist Party in Warsaw, Mikhail Gorbachev reiterates (July 1) the Soviet pledge of support against any attempts to "wrench a country away from the socialist community." In an Independence Day editorial (July 4), The New York Times denounces the Gorbachev statement as a reaffirmation of the Brezhnev doctrine, which is "the Soviet declaration of Eastern Europe's non - independence"

October. On the thirtieth anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, a joint proclamation is issued in Budapest, Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin signed by 122 prominent

Chronology 357

Soviet - bloc Europeans from Hungary (54), Poland (28), Czechoslovakia (24), and East Germany (16). Three Romanian dissidents join later. The first document of its kind, the proclamation says: "We declare our joint determination to struggle for political democracy in our countries, pluralism based on the principles of self - government, peaceful reunification of divided Europe and its democratic integration as well as the rights of all minorities"

November. The third Helsinki review conference opens in Vienna. In the course of discussions on human rights, Laszlo Demus, a member of Hungary's delegation, ex - presses Hungary's concern for "the fate of Hungarians living beyond our boundaries," condemns "any form of nationalism," in particular "one of its worst forms: forcible assimilation"

1987 May 26. In the course of an of ficial visit to Bucharest, Mikhail Gorbachev reminds the Romanians of the Leninist teaching to treat nationalities with "delicacy and carefulness"

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